BP Considering Radical Cut In Office Space Globally And Adopt Flexible Working

A radical change in the configuration of its offices is being planned by British Petroleum (BP).

According to the plan, the oil and gas giant could reduce the properties its holds by almost 50 per cent by shifting about 50,000 employees towards remote working and flexible workplace layouts because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to reports, BP could let go of scores of its global offices in its efforts to reinvent itself and the plans involves adopting a new approach to digital working and swingeing staff cuts. This new is being reviewed by the company’s senior leaders.

Since the lockdowns implemented to prevent the spread of the novel coronvirus, BP joins a number of large multinational companies that want to either sell off or not renew leases to unwanted office spaces. If that happens, it would be a major blow to the commercial real estate market and would be further accelerated by fast adaptation of remote-working technologies.

An exit from up to three-quarters of BP’s existing offices in some countries and setting up of smaller and more flexible workspaces has been considered by BP, said reports quoting a senior BP executive.

And according to a report published by The Guardian, BP could reduce as much as 75 per cent of its current work spaces.

Report however said that the fate of its property portfolio is yet to be determined by the oil giant and it is expected that the company would be finalizing the plan in the coming months which will affect tens of thousands of BP employees.

There are more than 70,000 employees of the company spread in 79 countries of the world. Earlier this year, the company had announced its plans for cut down its workforce by 15 per cent by the end of the current year which meant that about 10,000 people would be loosing their jobs – mostly those that are office based.

That reduction in staff strength will leave the company with about three fourth of the total office based workers and those remaining will be asked to adopt and adapt to a hybrid working arrangement that will involve working from home as well as office-based hotdesking.

According to estimates of commercial property, many companies that were forced to send workers home to work from home now have an average of about 20 per cent more work space than required as many of the companies have well adjusted to the remote working arrangements made during lockdown to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

These plans of BP are part of the aggressive modernization plan for the company drawn up by Chief Executive Bernard Looney, who took over office in February this year. He had promised to turn BP into a  “net zero carbon” company by 2050.

“There’s no question that work patterns are changing and BP will be no exception to that. We expect to move to a more hybrid work style which will be a mixture of home and office [working],” Looney told the media last week.

(Adapted from TheGuradian.com)

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